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  1. #1
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    Default HOW - TO : Lower Suzuki Savage LS650 Forks

    Figured I'd try and take the time to do another How-To for the Chop Cult Community.

    TAGS: XS650 LS650 Bobber Chopper Suzuki Savage S40 Lowered lowering forks cafe racer Hughs HandBuilt Hugh's Hugh Owings Punkskalar

    Lots of folks wish they could mod the Suzuki Savage LS650. Not alot of aftermarket support, and very little in the way of other mods are happening out there for them. So I decided to help a friend out and built his LS650 Savage. There will be a build thread otherwise, this is just for the forks.

    We set the stance of the bike, and it looked like we wanted the front forks to be lowered about 3.5" from stock. We removed the forks from the bike. If you need a how-to on that, then you might wanna think 2x about modding your bike and just leave it to someone else


    Here is the top cap of the fork, remove it using the proper tool (IE Crescent Wrench in this case)


    Under it will be a washer and a spacer. Remove the cap and washer.


    Then remove the spacer.


    Compress the fork and you should be able to reach the spring, and remove it.


    You will need a deep reach 8MM Hex Socket. I just chopped down a standard allen wrench, stuffed it into an old socket and tack welded it up. Cheap tools = More Beer Money


    And you will need a tool like this: We used an old 15MM Deep Craftsman Socket and a Bolt with a 24MM head. Again, making tools like this out of scrap parts work just fine. I "pressed" the bolt into the socket with a BFH and tack welded it for good measure.
    Last edited by Punkskalar; 11-09-2010 at 7:45 AM.

  2. #2
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    This part gets to be a little awkward, it can be done by one person, but a friend makes it easy work.




    You'll need a long ass extension. I don't know how long exactly, but long is key. You'll need to attach the 24MM Homemade tool to it. The owner of this bike poses holding the setup needed.


    Put it down into the fork tube and feel it "lock" into the fork internals.



    Now use the previous 8MM Deep Reach Allen to hold the fastener in the bottom of the fork legs.


    Get your buddy to hold one end and loosen up the whole internal assembly. The lower bolt will look like this:


    Once you have the lower bolt out, you can turn the forks upside down and the dampening rod/valve should come right out.
    (pic to come, didn't load for some reason)

    Then you need to remove the dust cap. You can pry gently with a screwdriver and it will come right out.




    Then remove the snap ring. They are usually rusted up and stuck, but try to save them if you don't have new ones to replace them with.


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    At this point, you can basically pull the lower and upper legs apart and they will pull out the seals with out any damage.


    After you remove the upper from the lower, the upper tube should look like this on the end:


    Go ahead and pull the seal off the tube for now. You can reinstall it or use new ones.


    We had already decided on 3.5" of drop in the forks. That would leave us with just about 1.5-1.75" of travel. PERFECT!!

    I made up some spacers, (I can make these for your LS650 as well, PM or Email HughsHandBuilt@gmail.com or find me in the Chop Market of this board) on my lathe exactly 3.5" long.



    The spacer all machined and pretty:


    Now I mocked up the spacer where it would need to be located on the dampening rod. On the left is the dampening rod with the lowering spacer installed. Make sure the top out spring is located UNDER the lowering spacer. A stock assembly is on the right.

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    Now install the lowered dampening rod assembly back into the upper fork tube:



    Once the dampening rod come out of the fork tube, you will need to install the tapered seat that was probably still hiding in the lower fork tube. I like to apply some tacky grease/lube to this part to help it stay together while assembling the forks.



    Slide the upper back into the lower fork, and reinstall the bottom bolt.


    Tighten it all back up using the long extension and the homemade tools: (yes, I reused these pics, so what? )



    No you can reinstall the bronze sleeve that came out of the lower fork tube when you pulled the two halves apart. Its hard to show in pictures, but it lightly presses into the lower fork tube. I used a screwdriver and a small hammer to tap it into place.



    Then reinstall the Metal Ring, then the Seal, then the Snap-Ring and Finally the Dust Cover, in that order.. Its exactly the opposite of how it came apart. It should all fall in order just as shown in this picture. You can see the previously mentioned Bronze Sleeve that needs to be installed first:


    Once that part it all taken care of, you can then modify the stock spacer that you removed from the top of the springs in some of the very first steps. This part here:


    Remove 3.5" from the spring spacer. (3.5" is the same amount we lowered the forks, so if you lower the bike 2", remove 2" and etc........) Cut it down with a hacksaw, dremel tool, claw hammer, whatever... Just get it cut down.


    Put the springs back in:


    Install the newly shortened spacer:




    ADD OIL! This is just for mockup purposes at this point, and we did not put new oil in yet...




    And then reinstall the fork into the trees. Then install the top cap and washer. Its a pain to do as well, keep that buddy of yours handy for this part.


    Now sit back and enjoy the low life Lowered fork on the right, stock on the left

  5. #5
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    Great how to, thanks!
    But isn't 3.5" to much? The rear end will be hardtail or swingarm?

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    Quote Originally Posted by klem View Post
    Great how to, thanks!
    But isn't 3.5" to much? The rear end will be hardtail or swingarm?
    Eh... Depends on your style. The tech is the same regardless of how much you plan to lower the front end. We figured this thing will still have about 1.75" of travel This will be a rigid frame build.

    Comparatively, my XS650 only has about 2" of travel, and my wife's little hot rod has 2.25" of travel. Both are very rideable

  7. #7
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    Good stuff man. Are you gonna be doing the hardtail on the frame also?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario13 View Post
    Good stuff man. Are you gonna be doing the hardtail on the frame also?
    Of course. The stock frame on this thing is FUGLY! It will present its own challenges I am sure...

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    You owe me a narrow glide fork spacer...errr... 15mm Craftsman deep socket...

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    Quote Originally Posted by JH282 View Post
    You owe me a narrow glide fork spacer...errr... 15mm Craftsman deep socket...
    Your donated socket / found fork spacer went to a worthy cause...

  11. #11
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    Props as always. If you leave the forks together, could you pull the bottom bolt without the homemade 24mm holder? On my Kawasaki the manual calls for a similar special tool, but the spring tension when fully assembled holds things tight enough that an impact will break it loose and you can properly torque it going back up as well. Just a thought, may not always work though.

    http://tearitupfixitrepeat.blogspot....rs-gators.html
    http://tearitupfixitrepeat.blogspot....-top-tree.html
    http://tearitupfixitrepeat.blogspot....r-mock-up.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPWilliams View Post
    Props as always. If you leave the forks together, could you pull the bottom bolt without the homemade 24mm holder? On my Kawasaki the manual calls for a similar special tool, but the spring tension when fully assembled holds things tight enough that an impact will break it loose and you can properly torque it going back up as well. Just a thought, may not always work though.

    http://tearitupfixitrepeat.blogspot....rs-gators.html
    http://tearitupfixitrepeat.blogspot....-top-tree.html
    http://tearitupfixitrepeat.blogspot....r-mock-up.html
    Actually, you bring up a good point We could get 1 side apart that way, but couldn't get the other apart. Hence making the tool using the parts that would come apart as a guide

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    Quote Originally Posted by Punkskalar View Post
    Actually, you bring up a good point We could get 1 side apart that way, but couldn't get the other apart. Hence making the tool using the parts that would come apart as a guide
    Yep. That sounds about right.

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    Is there a way like this for cb750 forks.I want to lower mine i have a 82 cb750k

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenlight23 View Post
    Is there a way like this for cb750 forks.I want to lower mine i have a 82 cb750k
    Send me a fork and I'll do a write up on it

  16. #16
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    Dude, this has got to be one of the best demos I've seen! Big, clear photos! Excellent job!

  17. #17
    stan
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    Hi, New to chop cult, Brilliant "how to", nice and clear. Anyway, i've shortened my forks by 2 1/2 inches following your how to and just wondered now it comes to replacing the oil, Does it require the same standard amount or does the oil level also have to be reduced? Cheers, Stan.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by stan View Post
    Hi, New to chop cult, Brilliant "how to", nice and clear. Anyway, i've shortened my forks by 2 1/2 inches following your how to and just wondered now it comes to replacing the oil, Does it require the same standard amount or does the oil level also have to be reduced? Cheers, Stan.
    Start with the same amount of oil as stock. Has always worked for me

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    Did some research about adding oil to stiffen up the forks. What I read was that it will really only add stiffness at the very bottom of the travel, which is actually kind of a good thing to keep things from bottoming out. I didn't have a super good way to measure, so I just added two cap fulls(the cap from the oil container) to each side, and haven't had any issues without bottoming out, and the bike rides great. I'm running 10wt syn fork oil, and my forks are lowered about 5 inches.

  20. #20
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    I think this is an awesome how to and a great cheap mod. I went 2/1/2 inches and it looks good.

    When I did it, i didn't remove the uppers from the trees and I didn't seperate the lowers from the uppers.

    I just.......

    popped the top off, pulled out spacer,washer,spring,

    Turned the forks upside down and drained the oil out

    used the homemade tool to unbolt the dampening rod.

    Turned them more upside down and the dampening rod fell out.

    Cut a piece of the old handlebars for a spacer 2.5" and put it between the spring and the top of the rod

    dropped it back in. (tapered seat still left in the lower, it dropped right into it. you will know it because it has to go in the seat in order for the bottom allen bolt to thread into it.

    put springs and stuff back in and cut spring spacer 2 1/2".

    So I skipped taking the legs out of the trees and skipped separating the uppers an lowers.

    I think this is ok. Whole mod was like 30 minutes for both sides.

    P.S. This assumes the fork is off the bike already.

    It looks like Ryca has a how to on these and they skip the separating lowers from uppers as well.
    Last edited by fastbub; 01-30-2013 at 4:53 AM. Reason: additional info

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